Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 15:33 UK

Accident sparks Metro scooter ban

Metro train
Mobility scooter users will now have to be helped on trains

Mobility scooter users have been banned from using the Tyne and Wear Metro unless they are with a helper after a man fell on to the track.

They will have to be accompanied by a helper from Saturday. The man's fall from his vehicle was the second mishap which prompted the move.

Operator Nexus apologised but said it was needed to safeguard passengers' safety.

A meeting is being held at St James' Metro on 30 April for disabled people.

The rule applies to powered mobility scooters but not electric wheelchairs.

The restriction was introduced after a man fell on to the stretch of track at Howdon station, in North Tyneside, on Thursday morning.

He was treated in North Tyneside General Hospital for head and facial injuries.

Bernard Garner, director general of Nexus said: "We're changing the rule on using mobility scooters on Metro for the safety and comfort of all our passengers, including scooter users themselves.

Suffered bruising

"We appreciate this will make travel more difficult for some users, but we feel we have no alternative - other than to stop scooters using Metro altogether, given new safety concerns surrounding their use.

"There has been a huge growth in the number of people using powered mobility scooters to get around and we need to keep pace with that."

Last year, an elderly woman on a mobility scooter crashed through train doors and onto the Metro track after boarding a train at Brockley Whins station, South Tyneside.

The woman suffered bruising but was not seriously hurt.

Mr Garner said Nexus would be meeting disability groups to discuss passenger safety.




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